New UL safety certification program addresses ICT power cables

Sept. 29, 2017
New certification program addresses IT and communication device power cabling safety challenges.

NORTHBROOK, Ill., September 11, 2017 –To benefit end-product and cable manufacturers, brand owners, retailers, and end users, Underwriters Laboratories (UL) has launched a new safety certification program for Information and Communication Technology (ICT) power cables. These cables are used to power or charge IT and communication devices such as laptops, tablet computers, smart phones, power banks and more.

While the power capabilities of ICT cables are growing to meet the demand for faster charging and to power higher wattage devices, so are the potential risks of overheating and fire due to the use of poorly constructed cables. This program addresses the potential safety hazards of cable assemblies that provide power or charging for connected equipment in a circuit that does not exceed 60 V dc, 8.0 A and 100 W.

UL’s program addresses the safety concerns of ICT power cables through the control of connector/cable materials and electrical design, and by performing testing in accordance with the recently published UL 9990, Outline of Investigation for Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Power Cables.

Cables tested and certified to UL 9990 are covered under UL’s surveillance program. UL surveillance includes regular inspections at the cable assembly manufacturing facilities and ongoing testing of the products from both the manufacturing facilities and marketplaces to help determine continued compliance.

“The ICT power cable certification program provides increased transparency for vendors and end users by making it simpler to identify those cables that can carry the appropriate current with reduced likelihood of overheating and the risk of fire. This is particularly beneficial when the data cables have already been evaluated to the pertinent industry performance specifications as it can address the concerns of key stakeholders related to both safety and transmission performance associated with ICT power cables,” said L.F. Lai, vice president and general manager of UL’s Wire and Cable division.

“We are pleased to see that UL developed a safety certification program that addresses the risks of fire and overheating associated with cables carrying higher levels of current for power and charging applications,” said Jeff Ravencraft, USB-IF President and COO. “UL’s involvement in the safety of advanced communication and power technologies such as those utilizing USB Type-C connections will benefit the industry.”

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